"Who Are You, and Why Are You Here?"

PeteGod gave Ezekiel the difficult task of presenting His message to ungrateful and abusive people.  Sometimes I believe I’m in Ezekiel’s shoes when I try to deliver the Word of God to our inmates at HCJ.  The Lord told Ezekiel to speak His words whether or not the people listen, and whether or not it is convenient.  God called His people obstinate and stubborn because they would not admit their sin.  I know the feeling.  Our measure of success is not how well the people respond, but how well we obey God and whether we fulfill God’s purpose for us.  God’s truth does not depend on how people respond.  He will not judge us for how well others respond to our witness to our faith, but how faithful we have been.  Last Sunday I was told that I’m not entertaining enough, and that I keep reading from the same book (The Bible) each week.  Last week we were in 2nd Kings and 1st John 5.  This week we’ll be in Ezekiel 3 and 1st Timothy 4.  I think I’ll try to be more entertaining by telling a story of a rabbi named Akiva, who lost his way home and stumbled upon a Roman garrison.  He was challenged and asked “Who are you, and why are you here?”  Akiva responded, but then asked the guard to come with him and to ask him these questions each time he came and went. There are many times I ask myself, "Why are you going to spend time with obstinate and ungrateful people?"  God always responds, "Who spent the time with you before you came back home?"  So I am reminded when Ezekiel is told “I will hold you accountable for their blood’ and “you will have saved yourself," that I, too, am accountable to God, His Son, and the Holy Spirit for presenting His message and following His will.

On the Inside,

Pete

No Summer Vacation from Discipleship

As the summer months are upon us, let us not forget that our service to the Lord is required no matter how busy we become.  The Word still needs to be shared, children still need to be taught, mission work continues, worship needs to be attended.  Please remember that Jesus died for us all: the good, the bad, and the ugly.  He died so we can live and live abundantly.  As we are doing so, let us remember that we are His hands and feet as long as we are here on Earth.

On the Inside,

Pete

On the Inside

D’evil.  Fr.noun ‘Of Evil.’

2 John 1:10-11 – If anyone comes to your meeting and does not teach the truth, don’t invite that person into your home or give any kind of encouragement.  Anyone who does encourage such people becomes a partner in their evil work.

In my travels I encounter many who do not believe that Jesus is God.  They believe he was created, he was a prophet, he was a good man, a small ‘g’ god, etc., but not the Son.  They, unlike I, do not believe in the Triune God: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.  Some believe that if they are good enough they will go to Heaven, however, there is no hell, and therefore, everything is good.  Some believe we are created in the image of God, therefore we can become God.  Some say we all worship the same God, and that God comes as all things to all people.  As a chaplain of a correctional institution, I serve people of different faiths with differing views of God.  However, I do not encourage any belief other than that of Christ Jesus, the Living Word.  I find that I have to be strong in the Word to be strong in my defense.  God’s Word needs no defense.  However, I need to know scripture to fend off "the Deluder” Satan and his minions.

Read more: On the Inside

Struggling

Yesterday a good friend asked me how I was doing.  She was more than sincere.  She truly wanted to know what was going on in my little head.  I told her I was struggling with being a member of PCUSA. She understood. 

When I became a member of the Presbyterian Church in another town we were PCUS, you know, the southern branch.  Then we came under the unification umbrella headquartered in Louisville.  I still identified myself as a Bible believing follower of Jesus Christ.  I still am.  However, it seems to me the PCUSA has left me behind as it has become an institution that ordains practicing homosexuals, marries same sex couples, is anti-Israel / pro-Palestinian, pro choice, and a litany of other all inclusive enlightened ideas.  My struggle includes the fact that I believe the Bible is the infallible inerrant word of God.  God means what He says.  I find myself leaning toward PCA or the more moderate EPC, or EOC.

I love my local church, First Presbyterian, Madisonville.  I have issues with the Western Kentucky Presbytery and the General Assembly.  I say these things to preface this request: please pray with and for me.

Loving you in the Name of Christ Jesus,

Pete

On Being Jesus' Hands and Feet

It’s an exciting time to be a member of FPC Madtown!

You can truly feel His Spirit moving!

First Presbyterian has just completed the first run of "God’s Warm Place", an exciting adventure into the plight of the homeless.  Next fall we’ll be kicking it into high gear with the shelter being open from December through February.  During the interim we’ll be beating the bushes trying to convince those who are not as fortunate as we that they can trust us and we truly care for their welfare.  We'll also be looking for more help from the community to staff the shelter each evening.

Next month 15 of us are traveling to the Yucatan to finish the San Diego Buena Vista water project, providing our brothers and sisters with pure clean water and checking on the Peto and Xoy projects.  Then hopefully some of us are off to Arkansas to learn how to set up a solar powered water filtration system that can be used in Haiti.

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Famine of God's Word

"The days are coming, declares the Sovereign Lord, when I will send a famine in the land - not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.  Men will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the word of the Lord, but will not find it."  Amos 8: 11-12

This text reveals to us that God is ruling in this world and universe.  He is the one who executes His purposes.  He can bless and he can punish.  Today the world does not see the hand of God in anything, and when devastation of various kinds come, the world simply sees execution of natural law, and blind mindless force.  In every tragedy man mourns, but, believes he is able to control his environment, and all he needs is more knowledge and understanding of the world.  Even in the Church there is an atmosphere that believes God does not intervene in judgment.  He is universal love, overlooks sin, and would not judge anybody, regardless of behavior.  This text gives us the truth that God is sovereign, and does execute His Word in the world, and what he threatens he can and will perform.  Amos assures us that God does not look on evil and godlessness with indifference, and although his love is seen in providing forgiveness through Christ’s sacrifice, he will execute judgment on sinners when they refuse his pleading to repent and be saved.

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Are We Following Christ?

Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you… [1 Samuel 15:23]

Therefore, as a tongue of fire consumes stubble and dry grass collapses into the flame, so their root will become like rot and their blossom blow away as dust; For they have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. [Isaiah 5:24]

The wise men are put to shame, they are dismayed and caught; Behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, and what kind of wisdom do they have? [Jeremiah 8:9]

They made their hearts like flint so that they could not hear the law and the words which the LORD of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets; therefore great wrath came from the LORD of hosts. [Zechariah 7:12]

There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. [John 12:48]

Two men are standing before God on the Day of Judgment.  One, an unemployed father of four, went into a grocery, stuffed a ham under his shirt, ran out into the street and was hit by a truck and died.  The other robbed a bank and was killed in a shootout with the police.  As they stood there, did God see a man who was trying to feed his family and a man who stole money and tried to kill the police officers?  No, He did not.  He saw two sinners.

Read more: Are We Following Christ?